Columns and Editorials

April is the month to celebrate libraries by Dr. Missy

Dr. Missy

April is a month to make merry! Show your appreciation for libraries.

School Library Month is the American Association of School Librarians Association (a division of the American Library Association-ALA) celebration of school librarians and their programs. The 2018 theme is Making Connections at Your School Library and the official hashtag is #AASLslm.

New York Times bestselling author, Jason Reynolds, is the 2018 Spokesperson for School Library Month. His books include: All American Boys, Ghost, Patina, Long Way Down, and Miles Morales: Spider-Man.

Invite your kids to high-five or fists bump (gently) elementary, middle school, and high school librarians this month at their school. Research shows the highest achieving students attend schools with well-staffed and well-funded school libraries (ALA, 2017). Support school librarians!

“Access to books and the encouragement of the habit of reading: these two things are the first and most necessary steps in education and librarians, teachers and parents all over the country know it. It is our children’s right and it is also our best hope and their best hope for the future,” proclaimed Michael Morpurgo.

Celebrate National Library Week, April 8-14, 2018. The theme is “Libraries Lead.” April 10 is National Library Workers Day. According to the ALA (2017), reference librarians in public and academic libraries in the U.S. answer around 6.6 million questions every week. Shazam!

Stop in and clap (silently so you don’t get shushed and hushed) for your local library staff. Give them a huge cheesy grin.

There are more public libraries than Starbucks in the U.S.—a total of 17,566 including branches (ALA, 2017). Give kudos to library branches in rural areas!

Public libraries offer 4.3 million programs per year. That’s learning combined with socialization and fun.

In my next career life, I want to be a Children’s Librarian. That’s how important I think reading is for kids. Young children benefit from summer reading programs, puppet shows, and rows and rows of picture books. If you want to raise a reader, visit the library on a regular basis. Checkout picture books and read to your babies and toddlers. Make the stories sound exciting with your voice.

April 11 is National Bookmobile Day this year. National Bookmobile Day is coordinated by the ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services, the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services, and the Association for Rural and Small Libraries. #bookmobileday2018.

When I attended elementary school, I looked forward to the bookmobile. The lady driver was so helpful and nice. As a kid, I was fascinated by books being in a gigantic vehicle on wheels. Roll on bookmobiles!

During the Great Depression horse-riding librarians in Appalachian areas made sure children had books to read. “In 1936, packhorse librarians served 50,000 families, and, by 1937, 155 public schools. Children loved the program; many mountain schools didn’t have libraries, and since they were so far from public libraries, most students had never checked out a book.” The Pack Horse Library ended in 1943.

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body,” asserted Joseph Addison.

Find a librarian in April and tell her/him why books are important to you. Talk about your favorite book. Keep it brief and whisper.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D, is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She resides in Scioto County.